Monthly Archives: December, 2012

Shedding Light on Long Island’s Immigration Issues

by Mary Luz Alpizar

Ivan Pereira is a 4.0 GPA student at Suffolk County Community College. He’s applied to 16 schools and has been accepted to all, including two of his dream schools, Harvard University and Columbia University. However, due to his illegal status, Ivan is unable to attend these Universities. He is not eligible to receive financial aid nor student loans. He cannot work legally to cover the cost of his tuition, though a part time job would barely lower his $50,000 annual bills at many of the Universities he’s been accepted to.  Ivan was brought to the United States at age six when his father moved here from Bolivia.  Having spent most of his life in the USA, he only identifies with American lifestyle and culture.

Much like Ivan Pereira, there are many others affected by their immigration status here on Long Island. Immigration laws have had many changes over centuries where circumstances have been put aside along with also having many different ethnic groups based on just their appearance. Immigration is currently an issue that raises many questions and concerns amongst American citizens including cheap labor, over population, security, and unpaid taxes. Many believe it should be carefully revised and renewed, in order to give many undocumented people who already form part of the American society an opportunity to reach the American dream.

President Barack Obama passed a deferred action during his term, which is an administrative relief from deportation that has been around for a long time. He also announced on June 15, 2012 that the U.S. Department of homeland security would not deport certian uncounted youth who were dream-act eligible.

These people would be given a type of “temporary permission” to stay in the U. S. called “deferred action”, which is an action put into play upon childhood arrivals.  It is valid for two years and will be reviewed at the end of those two years, and individuals who receive deferred action are allowed to officially apply for employment authorization. This is one large step on the ladder of immigration because according to them, people who already live in the country deserve a chance to have better quality of life.

The illegal “aliens” in the USA today are those who came from outside the United States illegally and stayed to reside in the country. As a result of their illegal status, they live under the radar and work in poor conditions.

Cheap labor is another big issue in the USA at the moment.  Here on Long Island, Rioja Pawezka is a cleaning lady working for a local cleaning company. Her pay is $6.50 an hour, which is below the minimum wage. She works a twelve hour day and five days a week. She wakes up at 5:00 A.M. every day to feed her 12 year old son Darwin and gets him ready for school. On the weekends, she works her second job at the cleaners where she gets paid $ 7.00 an hour, still below the minimum wage.
She barely sees her sons Darwin and Hugo yet has to pay the rent of her one bedroom apartment and feed her children. She pays $550 a month for her one bedroom, one bathroom and a small kitchen apartment in Brentwood.
“My efforts are for my children, they will have a better future.” Riojas said.  She knows that she is being taken advantage of, but she does not have the proper papers to take action and is afraid of having no job at all. She is afraid to report the abuses of not getting paid for over time, and for working many hours without breaks.
This family is living in bad conditions and it’s not due to the lack of effort. If working this many hours with a normal U.S. salary and over time, Riojas would be able to give her family a better quality of life. Rioja’s means of transportation to her job is a work band that picks her and her co-workers up. For this, there is also a charge of 14 dollars daily. Luckily her other job is about three miles from where she lives, so she walks there because she cannot obtain a driver’s license.

Nassau and Suffolk counties are in between the wealthiest counties in the country. With that being said, how can there be people living under such circumstances?  These people came here in search of the “American Dream”, and it is not illegal to work unless they have documents.
In many cases, parents migrated to U.S. and brought their kids along. These kids went to school, grew up, and adapted to the American society. This is the case of Ivan Pereira a college aspirant in Centereach Long Island. Darwin and Paul Pawezka, Rioja’s sons, integrated in the American Society just as well as Pereira.  Although full integration does not happen until third generation, Ivan argues he is already a part of it.
According to a news report released last week, the population of  Long Island immigration has almost tripled in the past three decades, and one in five long islanders were born abroad.

New to The Island:
El Salvador 55,969
India 24,549
Italy 23,619
Dominican Republic 20,879
Haiti 18,716

About a third of all immigrants on Long Island are now Hispanic, making it the biggest group of people who were born abroad a stated by a report by the left leaning fiscal policy institute based on U.S. census data.
According to Joe Gergela, executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau, agriculture makes up 6 percent of Long Island’s economy. It is also estimated relatively six out of ten of our country’s farm workers are undocumented (Southern Poverty Law Center). The vast majority of workers–78%, according to the most recent National Agricultural Workers Survey– is foreign-born and crossed a border to get here (NAWS, Farmworker Justice).
Farm workers are essential to the U.S. food structure, and despite our society, depend on their labor to put food on the table. These workers lack the basic rights, face exploitation, and live in fear of reporting abuses. No one else wants these jobs in factories, in farms, in kitchens, or as maids. Undocumented people cannot get better jobs due to their illegal status. All of this leads to unfair treatment in the work place such as long shift hours with no breaks, abuse of the job duties, no overtime paid, and of course no benefits. Business owners take advantage because they know the immigrants won’t report these abuses due to their fear of being deported (American Immigration Lawyers, Immigration and nationality Law Handbook).

As a result, undocumented people don’t pay taxes, but send their kids to our schools. They can’t pay taxes besides due to their low income rates. They are afraid of the government finding out about their illegal status, and also illegal working. Reforming the laws would change all of this, and would benefit immigrants and the country itself. The United States is country made out of immigrants, a multicultural country, where people with all types of background gather and become one.
Since the 1960’s, the United States has opened the door to all of those who were in need of a home and many left their native lands to go settle on this new land full of opportunities. They have left everything behind without looking back for a new start. Bringing with them their dreams, ambitions and cultures; different ethnic groups each settle on their own neighborhoods such as Little Italy, China Town, and Korean town.  Other areas on Long Island include the Pakistani settlers in Brookhaven, Koreans in the area of Oyster Bay and Glen Cove, Ecuadorians in Hempstead and Polish in Riverhead.

They slowly integrated into society learning English, and getting involved outside their own communities. It’s proven to take three generations to be fully integrated into a society. This means they didn’t come here to just work and leave, the want a life here and many doors were opened to the immigrants back then- and this is the reason why they stayed. There are many immigrants now who are struggling to give their families a better future, and a reformation of the immigration laws would benefit the country and open doors for immigrants.
As a result of this insinuation, doors will open and let everyone in. For this to happen, immigrants believe Laws need to be carefully revised, reformed and enforced. The security is another argument against immigration; there are illegal immigrant criminals, and by a social security number and license, records can be kept of these criminals’ whereabouts.
Illegal criminals are easily escaping from justice because there is no form of keeping track of them. They enter and reenter the country whenever they want making it harder to find them. However, Long Island being one of the finer places to live, the FBI’s Crime Index reports Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk) has the second lowest crime rate in the United States. New York has a one percent crime rate of “others” compared to the rest of country, while being the fifth state with more illegal immigrants.

Natasha Ruosky came to U.S. when she was twelve. She was brought by her parents who worked as musicians. When she first arrived, she hated it because she made a lot of friends in high school back home. She graduated high school and went on to a community college where she graduated with a 3.8 GPA. After graduation, she took a road trip with 3 of her friends on a bus to Miami. This was her first time traveling besides her moving to U.S. At a Fort Lauderdale bus station, immigration went on the bus looking for illegal people. That was the end of her celebration since she had no documents. They took her away in hand cuffs and humiliated her in front of her friends. That day marked her life forever. She got arrested and faced being deported. Everything her parents worked for, during all this years was about to be in vain. Natasha was determined to stay in the U.S. so she ended up marrying a much older man for papers. Her husband took advantage of the situation and used it to mentally and physically abuse her and even tried to make her his servant with threats of exposing her to immigration. Natasha still cries when she remembers the frustration and pain that she had to endure. She was afraid of reporting this abuses to the police she feared she would get sent away to Russia.
While everyone is prone to violence, experts say those immigrant women are more vulnerable especially, the illegal ones because they depend and relay on their abusers and this discourage them from getting help. Abusers are usually someone who holds a Green Card or U.S citizens they isolate them and refuse to petition for them.
Congress approved the Violence against Woman Act, which is a law that if married to U.S citizens they have the right to apply for residency on their own instead of relying on their husbands to petition for them.
Reforming immigrations laws and enforcing security of the borders would put a stop to this situation. Immigration on Long Island is a larger issue than many realize, and the foreigners who face the effects of immigration believe that it  should be attended to since it is having such large community of illegal immigrants.

Rise Above: A Volleyball Story

Kate discovered that she had a passion for volleyball when she was 13 years old and it led her to join a team in middle school.

“The day I tried out for the volleyball team in middle school really changed my life,” Kate said.

She introduced volleyball into her daily routine, through discipline, exercising and dieting. She trains four times a week as well as the weekend and is on a very strict diet. Kate says it’s a challenge to keep up with her routine, but she is ok with it because it’s something she enjoys to do.

Kate found herself at one point with a serious injury that put her volleyball future on the line and it also showed her the levels of danger involved with the sport. The incident occurred during a game when one of her teammates was standing directly in front of her, jumping to hit the ball. The girl came down and landed on top of Kate’s right leg, breaking it.

“It was an accident and a traumatizing experience. It put me out for the season,” Kate explained.]

According to the Dynamic Chiropractor, between 50 to 80 percent of injuries in volleyball are due to players pushing their bodies beyond its limits. Blocking and spiking are often said to be the explanations for high injury rates.

Volleyball injuries can be easily prevented with the use of ankle support such as ankle braces as well as proper warm up techniques, according to

Kate didn’t let the accident put her volleyball future on hold. She recuperated and worked hard to get back to playing on the team.

Since returning to her team, she has traveled with her volleyball team, the Long Island Fury, to even some places not every average volleyball team goes to. Her team has traveled around the United States and even to locations where the Junior Olympics were held previously. Kate and her team have successfully taken the cup home the last two consecutive years.

Kate enjoys watching the Olympics on TV, but hopes to one day participate in it. She has been offered scholarships to three different schools thanks to her active participation in volleyball.

by Mary Luz Alpizar

Holocaust Center At suffolk

buchenwald5By: Mary Luz Alpizar

Drastic images of corpses, gas chambers, and decomposing naked bodies are only some of the items students can view at the campuses Holocaust Center. The center features three rooms filled with items such as telegrams, military helmets, authentic clothing, SS surveys, Nazi applications, and posters.

 “The facility has already proven to be an inspiration to many students. The college president and board of trustees have clearly recognized the value of this mission by making this space available and dedicating resources to this endeavor,” stated Director of the center Steven Schrier in the Center on the Holocaust, Diversity and Human Understanding, Inc. (CHDHU) press release.

The Holocaust center was created in 2005, when Andrew Liput donated his collection of over 200 items including original photographs and memoirs, to books and uniforms to the campuses exhibit.  

The Holocaust Center is located on the second floor of the Huntington Library on the Ammerman Campus.  Thanks to this donation, the college can offer this free exhibit to students with research projects.

 “I intended for this collection to someday be a catalyst for a program to educate youth on the perils of bigotry and indifference. The Suffolk Center on the Holocaust, Diversity & Human Understanding has effectively started this journey and I am excited about the mission that has been developed,” stated Liput in the CHDHU press release.

Last call for withdrawl

By Mary Luz Alpizar

        Withdrawing almost mid semester is convenient for students at Suffolk because it gives the chance to try out the class Students this upcoming Oct. 25 is the closing date for withdrawals. If you don’t feel comfortable with a class this is the time to withdraw. If you already missed three classes and plan on missing more you may want to consider withdrawing.

If you need help deciding whether you should drop a class or not, take in to account how convenient is the schedule for you. Sometimes it is impossible to be on time or to even make it, missed quizzes and assignments make it hard to follow.

      David Ortiz a student at SCCC who plans on transferring to Stony Brook next semester says, “Luckily I did not have to withdraw from any classes this semester. I enrolled in a class that was 8:00 a.m. I was late and mi  ssed like three times. It was definitely a good choice since I am now retaking the class on a different schedule and doing good in it.”

       Another full time student Michael Guiodemi says “I register for as many classes as I can, and I get a feeling for all of them. Sometimes I get to keep them all and sometimes I drop one or two classes.”

      Remember this very important date, no later than Oct. 25. After that date you’ll have to stay in the class or get an F. You may not be able to register for another class after this point but at least you won’t have an F on your transcript.

Suffolk Women React to Candidate Rape Comments

ImageBy Anthony Lucero

This 2013 election, the group of voters that ultimately gave Barack Obama an edge was women. The female vote, which favored Obama’s 55 percent to Mitt Romney’s 43 percent, created a gap due to the hot button issue of abortion and rape.

The controversial comments made by Richard Mourdock, the 53rd Treasurer of Indiana, Todd Akin, representative of Missouri’s 2nd congressional district, and Joe Walsh, representative of Illinois’ 8th congressional district were unpleasant to the female audience.

Senate candidate Mourdock found himself in the hot seat with his statement about “Pregnancies from rape are God’s will.”

“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is a gift from God,” Richard Mourdock said. “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

The comments by Mourdock and the other Republican politicians caused women to swing their election votes from Republican to Democrat, and the switch occurred on campus also.

“It’s something god intended? What the f**k?” Danielle Cruz, Criminal Justice major, said. “This is why I’m a democrat, voted democrat, and would vote democrat if I lived in Indiana.”

Richard Mourdock made his infamous “God’s will,” comment in the middle of his senate seat campaign similar to the way Todd Akin did. Akin joined Mourdock in the debate with his own view of what he called “Legitimate rape.”

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that it [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Todd Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

“That is just ridiculous,” Alyssa Vuozzo, an Interior Design major, said. “If I got raped and had the child, how would I ever explain that to my kid? I would never want them to find out; it just opens the door to so many other issues in the future. Rape is rape. No one wants to have a kid that will remind them of that horrible time, at least I know I wouldn’t.”

The issue of abortion is one that can be argued when combined with the scenario of rape. Abortion breaches from a moral concern to an ethical dilemma, especially with the welfare of the rape victim on the line.

Joe Walsh of Illinois added his own comments to the issue when he not only backed what Todd Akin had said, but added to it.

“Outside of the very rare circumstances such as ectopic pregnancies, and other rare health issues, the research is pretty clear that with the advances in modern medicine, an invasive and traumatic procedure like an abortion is not necessary to save the life of a mother,” Walsh said. “Let me be very clear that when I say I am pro-life, I mean that I am pro-life for the mother, and I am pro-life for the unborn child. For me, there is no distinction between the two.”

“I had a friend that had to have an abortion because she had medical issues, so to read this by Walsh just sickens me,” Chrisistella Konomos, Liberal Arts major, said. “It’s the woman’s choice regardless of the situation, belief or whatever and that’s that.”

Walsh, Mourdock, and Akin would all try to back track on their comments in order to limit the media’s back lash. Yet, as hard as they did to save their campaigns, their efforts would prove futile as they lost their races.

The issue of rape and abortion will continue to be a critical issue, but if the losses of these three men indicate something, it’s that women that will have the final say. Women made up the largest demographic of voters in the 2013 election.

America’s Health Care Concerns

By Mary Alpizer

The United States, a profoundly capitalistic country, has chosen to pass the burden of healthcare spending to private consumers as well as other institutions such as employers and insurers. American healthcare system is currently the most expensive one in the world.

An article titled “What I Could Buy Instead of Health Care” by Rob Cockerham compares the price of a number of items versus the cost of insurance coverage. The writer finds that he could lease various cars, purchase subscriptions to magazines, and housekeeping services if he did not need to pay for the costs of health care. The cost of his health care plan for two adults and two children is $1,320.87. However, he considered if it should be a choice to spend money on services and goods rather than paying for something as necessary as a health care plan. He questioned what determines this and who it is determined by. If an intruder walked into a persons home, a 911 call would be a reflexive response. But if there was not a set up system and individuals had to pay for this kind of service out of their own pockets, many would not and it would be a dangerous disaster.

Socializing health care changes health care costs in the U.S. and instead of it being a luxury, it gives the value to something so important as health to a basic need.

Health insurance is one of the nations main problems. The cost of premiums continue to rise and many businesses are not able to afford it. As Americans, many have the luxury of health insurance; but far too many go without it. This concern is something that is always brought up as big issue at congressional debates. However, very little is done about it. There is a high demand to find a way so that every citizen of the United States is able to have affordable health care for themselves and their families.

Most people depend on their employers to provide them with health insurance but many times health care is not available through an employer. Many small businesses can not afford the high cost of health care, or it may be available, but the employee needs to pay the entire premium. Employers are also utilizing part time employees, of who for the most part are not qualified for benefits, including health insurance.

However, things seem to be taking the right direction after the America’s Affordable Health Act of 2009, which includes a government run insurance plan. This health reform bill seeks to expand the coverage to over 40 million Americans who are uninsured. It would lower the cost of health care. “ It will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. It will provide insurance to those who don’t. And it will lower cost of health care for our families, our businesses, and our government” President Obama assures. These bill intents to provide more security and stability.

This is the first time that the amount of uninsured people is reduced. The U.S Census Bureau reported that 48. 6 million people were without insurance last year. This number is a decrease from the 50 million from the year before. (2009) Yet, despite the decline, the percentage of people who are covered by government health insurance went up to 32.2 % from 31.2 % in 2010. While the number of people relying on government insurance programs increased last year, reports show that the percentage of the people who are covered by private health insurance stayed almost the same at 63.9 % in 2011.

It can be seen that citizens support the economy and build the country from the ground up. In reciprocity, the government provides rights and protection. The United States, a nation that concedes rights to its population, embarked into the 21st century with a neglected healthcare system, though having the greatest medical resources out of all other developed nations. A cause of this is that many U.S. citizens are in desperate need of healthcare. This triggers a debate on whether or not a government is accountable for the healthcare of its citizens. A citizen deserves many things from its government, considering that citizens are the ones to provide for the government to begin with. A country could not be a country without citizens and a citizen of a country cannot live without health. Therefore, a country is nothing without the health of its citizens. The United States government owes its citizens the right to healthcare and the only way to do so is by adopting a socialized healthcare system instead of the privatized one. Healthcare should be a right for all U.S. citizens because not only would it drastically lower costs from the current healthcare system for both the individual and the government, but also greatly improve healthcare rankings and satisfy the majority of the population.

Obama’s reelection: What it means for students

By Anthony Lucero

With the election all wrapped up and Barack Obama being reelected as president, college students are taking a look at how would a second Obama term would affect them and their education.

Right before the election students were given facts on what candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have done and would do for education if elected. The information was obtained from the candidates’ political websites found at education for Romney and

“I’m not looking to vote for neither [sic]” said an unnamed Liberal art major when asked whose education plan he felt was better. “But if I had to choose, based off what I read, I would say Obama would be better. Romney is just too much of a liar.”

His feelings were reiterated by many students on campus as they over whelming felt Obama would do more for education.

“Right away I can say Obama’s plan is better, and I’m not just saying that because I support him but because here he has an actual plan,” said political science major Joseph Lobiondo.

“I did not support ether candidate, but judging from what I read Romney didn’t have many actual solutions, instead just criticism and criticism is a simple thing. Obama may have solutions but has many more to address,” said Political Science Major Henry Yang.

The first four years of Barack Obama’s presidency, Obama set many goals he looked to tackle within education. Obama sought improvements in standardized testing and school choice; he reformed No Child Left Behind while also implementing his own head start plan in Race to the Top.

Obama looked to revive an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education but possibly his biggest contribution for education in terms of college students was his effort to try to make college more affordable for those who could not pay.

The act of cutting out private banks and instead letting the federal government provide loans directly freed up billions of dollars to be put towards Pell Grants and into other post-secondary education grant programs.

“Obama’s reelection doesn’t mean much to me in my terms with education but I will say he has done a lot to help those in need of an education,” said liberal arts major Frank Seidl.

For most students at Suffolk the most important issue when it came to education was financial aid.

“Mitt Romney is all about the bands (i.e Money)” said accounting Major Alex West. “I never trusted him to run the economy; why would I trust him with my education?” Alex added, “An Obama reelection means my financial aid is safe and that’s all that matters to me.”

Although Obama was able to help many students have a chance to afford a decent education, where he would falter would be his efforts to lower the cost of college education as a whole as the cost continues to rise. He would also be at the helm of the teacher strikes seen during his presidency.

Barack Obama has recognized the importance education plays in our country. A well-educated man; Obama was able to get into the position he is due in large part because of the education provided to him by this great nation. With a second term under his belt, many issues are left to tackle for Obama like the still growing cost of colleges and universities along with graduates being unable to find a job. Yet the overwhelming sentiment at Suffolk is that Obama is the right man for the job.

Take a break no way!

Winter break for college students usually means a full month of no classes to spend any which way they desire.

Some spend the break with family and friends, other students travel, work extra hours, and catch up on school work or some use that time to relax. One way many college students try to get ahead of the game is by taking classes over winter break.

This school offers a variety of winter classes for those students who want to take advantage and pick up additional credits.  Also, many students take this opportunity just in case they happened to fail a class; winter break is an opportunity to retake it.

Usually since the winter classes are jammed into a one month span the classes run a little longer than they normally would. Also attendance is mandatory, only emergency situations are excusable due to the shortness of the semester.

The idea of going to school during the winter break may or may not sound appealing but to those who are interested Winter Session begins December 27.  Registration is permitted until the day before classes start depending on availability because classes do fill up fast. Student’s can register online or at the registers office in the Ammerman Building.

The most wonderfull time of the year

It is the most wonderful time of the year. Families in long island are getting ready for the holidays, as i drive around Suffolk County, i can feel the spirit of the holidays, and it is everywhere, in school, at mall, on the streets, even at work. The malls are crowded with people shopping Presents for their loved ones. Also decorations all over the island are found. Houses light up from the top of the roof to the very last corner of the front yard.

December is a holiday season there other several holidays such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, winter solstice, festivus among other some of these are religious and some are secular whatever the case maybe they all make December a very special month even for non catholic.

December is a special time for people who have different traditions, and different faith. The ones with non are not excluded at either.

Hanukkah which is known as the festive of lights, it is an eight day Jewish holiday. It celebrates the dedication during the second century BC of the second temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian Opressors in the Maccabean revolt. Hanukkah means dedication in Hebrew and it starts the 25 of kislev on the Hebrew calendar and usually falls in November or December.(wikitpedia)

Kwanzaa celebrate family community and culture he was created in 1966 to bring African American community together he begins December 26 anything and generally first and he was based on building strong families.
Winter solstice easy time in which Sun appears at noon I love with altitude above the horizon and usually happens December 21st 2 December 22nd every year.
Festivus which is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23rd as an alternative to Christmas what is a way to celebrate without being part of the pressure of commercialism you was created for first appeared on December 1897 on the strike episode of “The stein field”. Ever since many people just felt inspired and now celebrate it.

To this bunch of holidays lets add New Years, which is the end of a year and the begin of a new one.

With so many celebrations no wonder December is the most wonderful time of the year, no matter what you celebrate as long as filled with love and peace.

Happy holidays!

By Mary Luz Alpizar

Journey to Success


By Malcolm Williams

The long awaited end of the fall semester nears at the college as well as other colleges around the country. We do our best or at least try to do our best to make it to the goal of becoming an important asset to society. We try to better our chances of finding a career that not only fulfills our needs but one that satisfies our desires. As the semester closes and the pages of our lives story continue to turn, the question we ask ourselves is, what chapter will we all be individually turning to the next year around? We are given endless choices but in fact, there are few solutions.

Stress is a physical response to events that may threaten or upset ones balance. There are those who spend sleepless nights planning and the choices they have set forth in front of them which causes an overwhelming amount of stress to fill their minds. The burden of the stress to succeed weighs them down to the point where they are immoveable. The journey has now taken a detour and the  changes now weather them down to point of decay, they are now slowing withering away.

The school offers a variety of services to help students manage the stress and chaos, establishing a sense of order in one’s education. As the year nears its end and we all become closer and closer to breaking through that checkered tape, lined up evenly above the finish, with our arms waved erratically in the air as we cross that line to victory. That line to victory is graduation, the gratification of being able to say , “yes, I made it, I didn’t give up and I have successfully obtained my diploma.” The journey continues in exploration; An exploration that can only be successful with the proper tools and knowledge of our mental and physical worlds that we are surrounded by.